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September 2nd, 2014

My New Year’s resolution

I hate to admit it, but I am the first one to complain if and when I get some type of service that I think is inadequate. It isn’t just that I am paying for good service (or food), it is because it the right thing to do. Right is right and anything else is unacceptable!

My New Year’s resolution this year is sort of the opposite. Instead of complaining about what I perceive to be wrong or unacceptable performance by someone, I am going to do the opposite and let everyone know when I get good/exceptional service or am treated in such a way that it not only makes me feel good or better, but demonstrates the wonderful attitude and behavior of the person who is interacting with me. Is that too confusing? I hope not. And since I have turned over this new leaf, I have had several wonderful examples. Let me share with you.

I guess first and foremost, I was very nervous and worried about having carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand. I finally found out that the terrible pain I was having in both hands was carpal tunnel, and was pleased to find out that right here in central Vermont we have a renowned surgeon for this particular syndrome. I met him and was very impressed with what he told me, but I was still very apprehensive about the first surgery. I just hate to be fussed over and the thought of the before, during and after of the surgery made me not just worried but a little nuts!

Well, let me tell you how it went. Without a shadow of a doubt, the nursing staff couldn’t have been nicer or made me more comfortable. Even while I was going through the procedures necessary for the surgery, I kept thinking about how nice and terrific everyone was. Was I still apprehensive? Oh, a little bit, but I assure you that they did everything possible to make my experience easy, friendly and worry-free.

I am almost embarrassed to tell you that before I knew it, I was done and it was over. I was helped to get dressed and to meet Malcolm who was waiting for me in the lobby and because I am such a kindly woman (!) we went to McDonald’s so he could get a double Mac cheeseburger on our way home. For me? No muss and no fuss and my anticipated ordeal was over. And all I can tell you is that the staff and everyone at Central Vermont Medical Center made my day! I have been places where it was otherwise and believe me, I made sure everyone within the sound of my voice knew about it. But here and now? Terrific.

This might be a good time to tell you about my colonoscopy! I know that everyone over the age of 50 is encouraged to have one, but I also know that many of you are putting it off or just not going to do what you think is such an invasive procedure. Well, I waited until I was 70 but decided that I just had to bite the bullet and get it done. How bad would I feel if I had colon cancer and had let it go? So, I made the appointment, drank all the nasty laxative stuff and showed up for my procedure. Now, I want to tell you how nervous and apprehensive I was. What could be worse than to anticipate someone looking up and probing your most private area?

So, let me tell you how it went. I went in and met a lovely nurse who helped me to undress and put on a “johnny.” She assured me that this would be quick and easy but of course, I kept thinking, “Well, it isn’t you who is going to have her innards searched,  either.” I was wheeled in, the doctor said, “ Hello, Mrs. Reiss” and the next thing I knew he was saying “Wake up Mrs. Reiss, it all went just fine.” I couldn’t believe my ears. It was already over? What was I doing during that time? I still don’t know, but I do know that nothing in the world could have been quicker, easier and less embarrassing! And of course, there is the relief of knowing that all is well with my colon.

Now, most of you know me well enough to know that if either of these procedures had been awful or if I had been treated like a piece of meat, I would have been the first to tell you. No one likes to have anything done to their bodies, especially when their bodies are old, wrinkled and do not look like the ones in the Sports Illustrated calendar. But I can assure you that if you are pleasant and friendly, you will be treated with the friendliness and respect that you deserve… even if you are nervous!

I do want to take this opportunity to thank the staff at CVMC, especially in the day surgery area for their kindness and professionalism when I had my first carpal tunnel surgery. Without them and their willingness to treat me with kindness and respect, I just don’t know how I would be able to have my left hand done. And believe me, it needs to be done, too.

I guess what I am trying to say is not only do you need to look on the bright side, you need to expect that the bright side is what you should and will receive. And instead of grousing about the bad things and the treatment that you receive, even by a server in a restaurant, talk about and spread the word about the good things and the good times. The world is too filled with bad things these days and I think that we all get inundated with dark thoughts. We need to anticipate that good things will happen, and if you anticipate the good and then talk about it, maybe we can change the world!

And if you don’t think that we can actually change the world, at least we can change our attitude.

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